Missed opportunities

I wanted to post a little earlier than usual today due to a huge roar of thunder. You know the ones you can almost feel as well as hear. The ones that put your windows and underwear to the test.


I was still half asleep when I climbed over my bed and to the curtains, looking out to horizontal rain that I can only describe as painful had I not been sheltered. I love this kind of whether but for a different reason. I was hoping to have a beer outside as I did when I took this picture a couple of days ago, I don’t think today will be the day.


Sadly I didn’t stay awake long enough to watch the whole show. My body wouldn’t let me. It is sobering to think that I can only wake up when my body says so. I fall asleep when it says so too. I only came into existence when someone else’s body said so, that’s really crazy. My atoms were always out there somewhere, not organised enough to form a consciousness. The storm today was incomprehensibly small compared to the ones I have missed over the billions of years before my existence, smaller than the ones happening right now throughout the universe.

I shouldn’t solely blame sleep with this in mind, being awake doesn’t help much either. As I have posted previously, all we can do is stare and wonder. We know some of what goes on up in space, this isn’t enough to grant our senses the ability to focus on it.

It is frustrating to know what we cant see but it is pretty amazing that our species is developing tools that overcome this. Thankfully the future looks brighter than the skies today.

The travel stories sound great but… did you tan?

I was with three German friends yesterday, they were travelling from Stuttgart to Newcastle for a weekend break. They underestimated the Scottish sunshine as I watched them come back from a day trip to Edinburgh. It’s there and craves attention from time to time. One of them came back more red than a Stuttgart away shirt.

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Of course, the featured image isn’t northern Europe. It is Belém, Portuguese for Bethlehem. I loved this city and the regions around it, if I was in danger of sunburn it was this place. It is a shame, I used to tan so well. Maybe it was the parental guidance as a child and my clear lack of self reliance to apply enough sunscreen. I am fine with this though, it isn’t the main focus of my holiday.

It seems to be the main focus for so many people. When I arrive home after a trip, more often than not my skin colour will be the topic of conversation. Whether I tanned or not, I have to go through the cliche who-has-the-browner-skin competition.

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I have five right arms. Great for carrying groceries, terrible for balance.

For many Brits, holidays abroad are simply for the sunshine. To be able to sit down outside with a beer and do nothing. To get a great tan and show everyone back home. It seems like this is what is perceived of my reasons to travel too. Not the stories of what I did or where I went, what food I tried and how much of the language I learned. Just how hard I tried to sit still to get brown enough to prove I went away in the first place.

I do often come back with a little colour, but this shouldn’t be the only evidence that any journey was worth it. If anything the lack of tan may prove I was busy doing other things, venturing away from the hotel pool from time to time. If I go all that way I want to make it worth it. I want to take this opportunity to do what I cannot back home and sample a new experience that my great grandparents were not able to.

I wonder if I went back in time and visited my great grandparents, would they take any interest in my change of skin colour at all, considering the huge amount of curiosity they must have gathered knowing I had travelled overseas? Or would they spend the whole day sitting down with me asking what such an experience was like? The smells from the restaurants, the appearance of the natives, the warmth of the rain and the height of the mountains.

The tan fades. Experiences don’t.

Redemption

And just like that, it changes. Just as the grey was becoming tiresome, the sun beams through brighter than it ever has, adding colour like it was 1967 again.


Like the good old battle of good vs evil, the positive ending justifies the unsettling lead up. The positive outcome welcomed, appreciated that little bit more.

Often the case here in the UK, probably the tenth time this cycle has repeated today. As much as I enjoy the changes, seeing the light pierce through makes me value the sun even more than I always do, enough to make me put on a jacket and experience it first hand before it falls victim to the horizon once more.


If the sun isn’t shining where you are, it will be soon!

Passing clouds

I love English weather.

Someone has to.

I love the endless cloud formations, the varying shades all congregating, a merging melting pot occupying the same space better than humanity can.

Then again, the skies occasionally produce tornadoes. Sometimes like people, nature spirals out of control. I have been told the UK has more tornadoes than anywhere in the world (per square km), they just often form in rural areas and are nowhere near as destructive as those seen in the States.

I did in fact see one off the coast of Majorca around the year 2000. Incredible, something I have always wanted to see unfolding in front of my very eyes. A couple of miles out to sea, it’s a shame smart phones weren’t a thing. We decided to leave our chunky video camera in the hotel as we had no plans other than the pool. To this day my sister and I argue as to who saw it first. It was definitely me.

I also look up and remain thankful that my country does not endure regular natural disasters. I have to, I thank anything and everything that keeps me here for as long as I am. Not that I am thankful that others go through this instead, it hurts every time I have seen the media coverage of a tsunami slamming into a coastline or a quake tearing the ground apart. What I do consider are the religious nations suffering such forces. Is that why they are religious, sometimes prayer is only thing left? Why do I escape these nightmare scenarios in a relatively non-religious nation? Why do dedicated theists live perilously at the bottom of an active volcano or in long lasting droughts?

Nature is a beautiful thing, but it likes to kill us.

 

Motivation 

This sight gets me pumped up more than coffee.


The sunshine flooding in. It is also great to not rush to find a pair of socks on the second I get out of bed. It’s February… And I’m warm?!

I know I said yesterday that I love the harsh winter weather, I love all seasons. I would hate to have only one permanently. I love sunshine for a different reason. The rain wakes me up. It revitalises me, I feel all the senses come alive. The sunshine usually puts me to sleep or into a much less productive mode. I love it for chilling me out, it’s peaceful and relaxing. The fact that I am wearing shorts and no socks reminds me of holidays throughout the years, which are always good memories. The emerging of sunshine, the day’s gradually getting longer, is always an exciting period. It’s like the opening scenes of a movie, one that you know will last 365 days. If you know that this movie will contain some great scenes, whether it’s a summer festival, a new country to be explored or a new language, good on you. If not, make this the case!

I love sh***y weather so you don’t have to

2017, it’s all gloom so far. I’m not referring to Trump, I mean going from this…


To this. Soaking. Wet. Beanbags.


My friend called this afternoon, warning me not to go out as he was in town and Storm Doris has hit. Naturally, I decided to head out.

I love this kind of weather. I find it relaxing to walk in the rain. How stormy can a British storm be? Saying that, Doris has already claimed a life a little further south, which is always tragic to hear. They are getting hit much harder.


It’s like walking at 6am. You are the only one out, braving the cold and wet whilst the joggers have a day off. I would have walked on top of the above structure if it wasn’t closed for the day. It leads right into the River Tyne, the birth place of the Carpathia, the ship that rescued Titanic. Here it is from another angle.


What a difference a little sunshine makes.


So yeah, I love the harsh winter weather, the wind and horizontal rain, it makes me feel alive. I have a bad case of face ache, but I’ll thaw out. Bring on the summer so I can complain about how hot it is, it’s a British thing.